After several people suggested I bake bread (the kind involving yeast), I decided to give it a try yesterday. Things didn’t go so smoothly, but I did end up with a half-decent loaf. My friend sent me a recipe for no-knead bread, which seemed simple enough. But seeing as how I had never done this before, there were many little problems I encountered.
The actual making of the dough was pretty simple. Except for the fact that it was ridiculously sticky. I think I’m so used to things like cookie dough that I did not imagine bread dough to be that sticky. I have learned that flour is my friend. After I let the dough sit for two hours, I was happy to see that my dough had risen. So far, everything had gone smoothly.
I prepared my pizza peel for the dough by putting some cornmeal on it. The recipe says to use a lot, but I didn’t really think I needed that much. Besides, I didn’t want all this cornmeal on the bottom of my bread. Later on however, I found out why I should be generous with my cornmeal.
Then the recipe told me to cut out one pound of dough with a serrated knife and form it into a ball. This was where the situation got sticky ☺ I needed more flour but my hands were covered in dough. With the lump of dough in one hand and the flour jar in the other, I tried to gently pour some flour onto the counter (as you can see, I did not think this whole process through). Of course, a ton of flour came flying out, most of it landing on the floor and my foot. But at least some had landed on the counter. I plopped the dough onto the flour and I was actually able to make a ball of dough that looked like the one in the picture on the recipe.
Finally, it was time for me to put the dough in the oven. According to the recipe, I should just be able to quickly jerk the dough from the pizza peel onto the baking stone. However, when I tried this jerking motion, all the extra cornmeal flew onto the baking stone, but my dough did not move, at all. This was when I realized that there is a reason why lots of cornmeal is necessary. So with the side of a chopstick, I scraped my dough ball off the peel onto the baking stone. All my hard work earlier forming it into a nice round ball went out the window.
After getting my dough on the baking stone, I realized I was supposed to flour the top generously. This is because I was supposed to cut slashes on top. I quickly considered skipping this part. But because I’ve never baked bread, I wondered if that would affect the way the bread baked. There was no way I could get my dough off the baking stone and back onto the pizza peel. So with my dough in the oven, I tried to flour the top without burning my hands. And I messily cut two slashes across the top.
After 30 minutes, my bread was done. I wasn’t sure how to get it out, so I tried using a wooden spoon to move it off the baking stone onto the pizza peel. This would have worked except for my dough was stuck to the baking stone. So after some prying, my bread came free, minus the bottom crust. But still, my bread looked bread-like. And it actually tasted okay. I was quite pleased.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Thanks for hanging in there.